What Can I Do My Top My Four-Year-Old Throws Tantrums The Advantages of Autism

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The Advantages of Autism

My husband and I are the sometimes-proud, sometimes-mortified parents of a four-and-a-half-year-old boy, Jonah, who has autism. Jonah is a bright, mischievous, loving, defiant, monkey of a child. We love him and manage our somewhat unusual lives quite well. With autism, however, everything can seem like a challenge: meals, bath time, car trips, birthday parties, you name it.

Among other things, Jonah does not speak and he does not understand normal social cues. He would go up to a stranger at the park and hit her picnic basket. He will climb a playground slide without realizing whether or not a child is ready to slide down right into him. Every time he hears the song “Happy Birthday to You,” he walks up to the place of honor, ready to blow out the candles and tear into a cake. When prevented, distracted or redirected away from these activities, anger is the likely result. And when the rage is in public, there is usually the added amusement of stares, stares and disapproving looks from strangers. I could go on…but this article is not about what autism is, or how difficult it is, or why its occurrence has risen to epidemic proportions. It’s about the benefits of autism. And really, there are several.

I have to admit right now: I’m only half-phased when I say that we fully intend to cash in on any emergent cognitive abilities, like in the Las Vegas scene of Rain Man — but it doesn’t. seems likely since they say only 10% or so of motorists have these skills. Oh, well. Winning ridiculous amounts of money counting cards isn’t everything, I guess. Good thing there are other things we can enjoy now.

One is innocence. While other kids his age have “moved on” to superheroes and swords, our son still loves bubbles and blocks. While his peers have ditched traditional children’s songs for pop music, Jonah is still happily belting out “Reds on the Bus” — and doing all the hand motions, too. He doesn’t watch commercials then demand whatever toy or gadget or breakfast cereal was advertised. He doesn’t understand the concept of Christmas or birthdays, at least not like other kids, so he’s perfectly happy with a few toys and something tasty to eat.

When our son is fully enjoying himself, there is no one so uninhibitedly delighted. Joyous Jonah is a beautiful sight. He is never shy or self-conscious about what he does, and it shows. What you get is a child largely unaffected by most of the things that can’t help but affect other children’s consciousness: bad news on TV, worry about dad leaving for work, fear of the butcher under the bed. In a way, autism protects him from much of the normal anxiety, fear and insecurity of being an almost five-year-old.

People have also told us he’s especially fun to watch – and we can see why; the way he interacts with his environment is undeniably interesting. We consider it an advantage to have a child who sees the world through a somewhat different lens. He will hold his fingers up to his eyes to catch an interesting sight, or tilt his head to the side and look at things from an angle. He adores kaleidoscopes and spinners and flashlights and seems to see them in a way the rest of us can’t. He teaches us to stop, look and listen to things in a way that may never have occurred to us before.

There are advantages, even, to his silence. Although we would love for him to learn to talk and do everything we can to help him learn to communicate verbally, it’s nice to know that he won’t start yelling obscenities at the mall or call the cops and tell them it’s our house. burning He might persist with the light switch turning it on and off a thousand times, but we are never subjected to endless repetitions of movie quotes, nursery rhymes or some random snippet of something he heard on TV.

In fact, we have found that for every challenge we face with Jonah, we are presented with an unexpected, precious, and often humorous gift. The gifts enable us – because, as with everything in life, they balance out the bad and show us our son and situation in an ever-changing, beautiful light.

And perhaps that balance is, truly, the greatest gift of all.

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